Hi, this is Melbourne Tram Driver starting up a blog to help answer some of the questions I've seen on Twitter. Unfortunately Twitter lacks the space to cover certain issues completely and it's difficult to explain complex issues in such a limited space. Hence, this blog is born. Before we get to the interesting stuff, there are some issues that I need to deal with first.
In no way is this blog or my tweets supported or endorsed by Yarra Trams. My goal here is to fill the numerous gaps between what goes on in the real world vs what goes on in tramland. I will share my frustrations with both the travelling public and the running of the system. I don't always tow the company line and, as in the past, I have often suggested people lodge complaints with either Yarra Trams or the PT Ombudsman.
In the end, I'd ask that everyone bear in mind a couple of things:
1. Staff are human and, like passengers, we make mistakes and aren't perfect. When I'm wrong, I apologise right away. Tram drivers have a difficult task. Those vehicles start at 19 tonnes and don't have steering wheels. It can be very stressful dealing with pedestrians/cars who don't know or care about this, not to mention exhausting.
2. We know that most of you pay for tickets and there's a reasonable expectation that a service be provided. If things go wrong, you should be informed (hello? anyone at @yarratrams?). However, please also bear in mind that the service provided suffers from everything the public and government throws at it. It's far from a champagne service. If you need a comparison, take the daily fare to the taxi rank and see what happens.
3. We can't see everything on board or outside the tram. If something's happening, for the love of God, come up and tell us. In addition, we don't know everything. A little bit of homework prior to travelling goes a long way, even if it's just a nearby main road or landmark.
4. Complaints are sometimes warranted and I've sent in my fair share. However, make sure they're targeted at the right people and contain accurate information. If you missed the last tram last night because it didn't run, staff at the Herald Sun comments section won't care or be able to do anything, so don't waste more of your time. Please don't expect me to gather all the problems of the tram system and email them to my boss. There are people whose job is to sort this out and they are the ones that can act on it.
5. In the end, I'm here to help out, as are the vast majority of employees. I enjoy helping people and a quiet, smooth day is what I love as well. If I hated people, I wouldn't be putting myself in a job where I see thousands of them every day. If you want to pick a fight with the driver for whatever reason, save your breath or don't endanger your safety or those of other passengers. Take down details, get yourself home and submit a complaint. And yes, they do get followed up.
6. Don't be afraid to ask questions about how and why stuff happens!
I'll try to post as often a I can, but please don't expect specific information about which lines I work, when I work or who I am. There are many people in this industry who would sacrifice aging parents for a cup of coffee, and I'm not about to put my hand up for that. They're usually the same ones who are shit drivers.
My next post will be about short shunts, something which often causes plenty of grief on the road, but nobody quite understands why.